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Cowboys news: Trevon Diggs makes the back end of a Top 10 ranking of cornerbacks

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Execs, coaches, scouts rank NFL’s top 10 cornerbacks for 2023 - ESPN

Is this a fair ranking for Trevon Diggs?

8. Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys

Highest ranking: 3 | Lowest ranking: Unranked

Age: 24 | Last year’s ranking: 10

The classic risk-reward corner, Diggs can tilt the game with a splashy interception or engender queasiness with his chance-taking.

As one NFL personnel evaluator pointed out, all offensive coordinators should run plenty of double moves on Diggs to make him bite.

But it’s hard to argue with 49 pass breakups and 17 interceptions since 2020. Teams value ball production, and Diggs has it. That’s why several voters put him in their top three.

“I think he’s gotten better at gambling overall. It’s still a hindrance to his game, in my opinion,” an NFC personnel man said. “I think if he can be more calculated with his ways he can be viewed more like an Asante Samuel Sr.”

An explosive corner, Diggs has reached 20-plus mph on 36 different plays since 2020, which tops the league, per Next Gen Stats.

10) Most Important Game on Cowboys Schedule - Staff,

Looking ahead to key games on the schedule.

Kurt Daniels: Though early in the schedule, the game that really stands out to me is the Oct. 8 showdown at San Francisco. There will be demons to exorcise as the 49ers have handed the Cowboys playoff defeats in each of the last two seasons. Yes, the division battles against the Eagles will be huge and traveling to Buffalo will be a tough test, but if Dallas can go into Levi’s Stadium and knock off the defending NFC champs, that would prove this team is for real and hopefully provide a confidence that carries them all the way to the Super Bowl.

Nick Eatman: Lot of options here, but you guys should know by now what I’m going to say. It’s always Week 2 for me. That’s always the game I point to on the schedule. Look at this stat – the Cowboys have been 2-0 to start a regular season 25 times, and have had just one losing season in that span. When they start 0-2, which has happened six times, they’ve had five losing seasons. The only exception was 1993 when Emmitt Smith didn’t play and he came back to lead them to a Super Bowl. The point is, if you win the opener, winning Week 2 is huge. If you lose the opener, you can’t lose Week 2. And now, throw in that it’s against none other than Aaron Rodgers and the Jets, this game is super important from a psychological standpoint.

Eight NFC East players with the most to prove in 2023 - Bruce Ewing, Yardbarker

Some surprising names in this one.

Here are the players with the most to prove on offense and defense for each team in the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys

Offense: Tony Pollard, running back | Since joining Dallas in 2019, Pollard has gotten better every season. His carries, touchdowns and yardage have more than doubled since his rookie season. His 1,007 rushing yards in 2022 were a career-best and led the team, but even in a down year, Ezekiel Elliott had more rushing touchdowns (12 to nine) and 38 more carries (231 to 193).

Without Elliott, whom the Cowboys released, Pollard becomes the team’s lead back, but replacing Zeke won’t be easy. After suffering a broken leg and high ankle injury in late January, Pollard participated in the team’s OTAs in a very limited fashion. He must prove he’s healthy and ready for a larger workload. Head coach Mike McCarthy is promising to run more in 2023, and Pollard should see the bulk of those carries.

Defense: Leighton Vander Esch, linebacker | As an athlete, the sixth-year linebacker has nothing to prove. Vander Esch led the Cowboys with 140 tackles as a rookie in 2018 and was second on the team with 90 last season. When healthy, he’s one of the game’s best defenders. But he struggles to stay healthy.

Vander Esch missed three games last season and 23 games over the past five seasons. But that didn’t stop Dallas from giving him a two-year, $8M contract in the offseason. Now the 27-year-old must prove he can stay healthy or the team could consider eating his $2M dead cap hit in 2024.

Role Call: Durrell Johnson Enters a Loaded Group - Patrik Walker,

Pet cat alert.

How He Got Here: One mantra you can readily see materializing in Dallas is that you can never have enough pass rushers, and that is why Dan Quinn saw fit to reach out and grab the former Liberty edge talent in 2022 undrafted free agency. Johnson earned his shot the hard way, starting out with ASA College in Brooklyn before heading to Liberty where he became a supernova last season — finishing with 27.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks (and four pass deflections an INT) in 13 starts.

What’s Next: The bottom line here is that, while he undeniably has the talent to make waves in training camp, the Cowboys are brimming over with talent at the edge. It’ll be on Johnson to prove he deserves a roster spot over not only fellow pass rushers, but also against other positions in what will ultimately become a numbers game in late August. Keep an eye on his battle with Ben Banogu, Tyrus Wheat and Villiami “Junior” Fehoko, the latter having an exceptional chance of making the team.

Quotable: “Now you’re here. What are you going to do with it? And, so, that’s a good thing to show examples of last year, the undrafted players who had a big impact, the guys who were drafted, had an impact. Now that they’re here, that’s our job to find all the unique stuff that they have and try to make that come to life.” - Dan Quinn on opportunities for 2023 UDFAs

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